“And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: FEAR NOT, but let your hands be strong.” ~ Zechariah 8:13
FEAR NOT: Love your Neighbor
The people of Israel/Judah had returned from captivity in Babylon; they were back in the land God had given to them. However, they were no longer an autonomous state: they were now part of the Medeo-Persian empire.
They were glad to be back home in their land, but they felt impotent: Would they be under the control of a foreign kingdom forever? Would God ever restore them to their former glory, as in the time of king David and king Solomon?
Over the years, they had become a laughingstock, a shame, a curse, because of their fall from glory. But, now, God promised to restore them. They would no longer be a curse among the heathen. Instead, they would become a blessing.
Our text gives us the key to the transformation from shame to blessing: WORK. “…but let your hands be strong”.
What kind of work does God want us to do? A few verses below our text, God, speaking through Zechariah, said:
“These are the things that ye shall do;  Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour;  execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And  let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and  love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.” ~ Zechariah 8:16-17
The four things listed can be summarized as, work on your relationships: work on how you treat each other. Or, as Jesus (quoting Scripture) reminded,
“…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matthew 22:39b
Which, after loving God (Matthew 22:36-38). was the second greatest commandment.
It takes work, it takes effort to love each other. It takes work to be fair to each other, to treat each other justly/fairly. BUT this is how Believers, the People of God, become a blessing among the heathen. Jesus put it this way:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” ~ John 13:34-35
FEAR NOT, Believer, God will tun us into a blessing as we WORK on loving each other. And remember,
“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” ~ Proverbs 10:12
This post is a part of a series on several of the “FEAR NOT” sayings in the Bible.